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I already did Teshuva (repentance) last year and the year before and the year before that.

I KNOW I did Teshuva because ever since my spiritual cleansing a few years back, not much has changed.

What was my spiritual cleansing like?

Well, let’s see.

I took stock of the spiritual burden I was carrying around with me, the physical burden, the emotional burden, the religious burden, my fears, hopes and  cares and I came to the realization that the burden I was carrying, well, it was too damn heavy for one person to bear alone.

And so I removed that burden from upon my shoulders and stopped to rest for awhile. I rested those responsibilities, worries, cares and overwhelming sense of self awareness against a strong and stable tree and sat in its shade and rested my weary body and soul for awhile.

And as I sat, disconnected from everything around me, it was at that moment that I finally had a sense of what it felt like to run free.

Running free without any burdens, it felt good and young and oh so carefree.

But it meant that I was missing out on building up my strength, my connections and my overwhelming sense of humanity.  It meant feeling alone and not truly experiencing more than just a carefree sort of existence.

Of course I wasn’t ever completely burden free, I was really only free on some holidays and every third weekend, but who’s counting.

Even pseudo-freedom counts for something. It is like holding onto a dinghy in the ocean, knowing that you still have a long way to swim, that your journey is far from done, but still feeling a sense of relief, even if it is only for a moment.

Then finally, when I was ready to carry the burden again that I had been carrying before on my path called life, I stood up and tried to resume my journey. It was then that I realized that much of what I had been carrying was unnecessarily weighing me down, making me feel more tired and more worn out than I needed to feel. And so I left much of my previous burden resting there, in the shade of that tree and took with me only the most important loads as I ventured out once again, on that continuation of the path called my life.

Which of those peckalehs (packages in Yiddish) did I choose to take with me, you may ask? I took my children, love for my family, love for Israel, honesty, integrity, happiness, self preservation and love for God in a way makes both me and God feel ok (right God?).

And so now as I walk along with a spring in my step and my head held high, approaching each and every new year with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude, determination and self preservation, I know that I have willingly chosen a path that I can happily call my own.

So to all of you who are walking along the path with me: some holding me up, some keeping me company, some carrying similar burdens to mine, some carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders,  whomever you are, you are part of my new found Teshuva, my life. It is to all of you that I wish a happy and healthy new year.